Faith and the Future Force #1
By Jody Houser, Stephen Segovia, Barry Kitson, Ulises Arreola
Faith and the Future Force #1 is a rock-solid debut and a truly fun adventure story. If you think summertime is flying by, wait until you experience the countdown that Faith and her companions face in the summer event, Faith and the Future Force.
The new four-part mini-series features an all-star cast of Valiant heroes battling against an enemy unlike any we’ve seen before. Featuring flying psiot Faith Herbert – fresh from her latest adventure in her solo title – and the new timewalker, Neela, this promising story is good old-fashioned fun. Humor, heart, and adventure abound as the heroes attempt to save history and time itself.
While the idea of trying to stop someone from destroying history is not new – this was explored in Valiant’s own Ivar, Timewalker – the scale of this story makes it event-worthy. Valiant has promised a who’s who roster of heroes and surprise appearances as the team battles to stop a malevolent entity that is not only changing history, but eradicating time. If you’ve seen the cover previews, you know there’s a robot involved. It’s typical of a Faith villain in that it’s diabolically cute, like a genocidal version of the Microsoft Word helper paperclip, but that cuteness belies its absolute lethality. This is not a being to underestimate, and writer Jody Houser quickly dispels any thoughts to the contrary.
Houser turns in what may be her best Valiant book to date. She’s crafted a story that gives readers a fresh take on time travel and on the characters themselves. Her prospective roster is huge, and it can be a daunting task to retain each character’s previously defined voice. She’s done an excellent job with those in this book, even making Neela more affable in the process.
The writing is tight with no loose ends or improbable leaps. While the event is serious in nature, the delivery is lighter and with a more adventurous flair than its fellow Valiant titles. It’s a much needed breath of fresh air and reminiscent of the vibe of the Ivar, Timewalker title. There’s some subtle nods to that series as well. It’s also easy for new readers to jump into. A brief introduction catches readers up on Neela’s character, and an excellent one-page introduction to Faith smoothly recaps her last adventure and cues us into when in the time arc this story takes place.
There’s an air of mystery in play. We quickly discover who the perpetrator is, but we don’t know from where it came or why. Furthermore, we have yet to learn why Faith was chosen. Expect that all will be revealed, but in the meantime, the mystique is part of the fun. The villain says a line that seems odd, and it’s a quote from a sci-fi series. Whether this is a potential clue or fitting happenstance with the theme remains to be seen.
Artists Stephen Segovia and Barry Kitson illustrate the tale. This is an attractive and effective book. The panel flow and layout makes for smooth reading. Both Segovia and Kitson make their characters come to life with authentic emotions in their expressions and body language. There’s an energy to their depictions and an electrical feel thanks to colorist Ulises Arreola’s excellent work. The shift from Segovia’s work to Kitson’s is subtle, and Arreola smooths it out with his consistent treatment. The overall effect is vibrant and exciting.
This is a time travel story involving a character who is a Doctor Who fan girl, and as such, it elicits the expected responses from Faith. But that’s where any comparisons end. It’s worth pointing out that while a large part of the Internet has lost its collective mind over the Doctor Who gender swap, Valiant did it first. Like the aforementioned “Doctor”, the Timewalker has always been a man – namely Ivar Anni-Padda. Such has been the case since the character debuted in the 90s. That all changed last year when Ivar passed the mantle to Neela.
Faith and the Future Force #1 hits shelves on July 26th. Pick this one up right away or you may have to do some time travel of your own to get a copy. This one won’t gather dust.